We are a group of Dental Consultants who offer, improved practice morale; a happier, more profitable patient base;and improved home life; increased collections. (And yes, our average is 35% in year one.)

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Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Prioritize your day




So how do you effectively prioritize into a day the treatment follow-up, recall and marketing?

Early each day confirmation should be accomplished so it is clearly understood how much time needs to be filled to achieve goal. A certain number of hours and/or a certain number of calls can reflect the priority of recare or treatment follow-up. Remember, an office is never finished with handling recall. No one should ever hear, “We’ve called everyone. There is no one else to call.” Recall is something that is never completed. There should always be someone who can be called. Calling too much is not the problem when patients report feeling harassed, it is generally because leaving messages is the problem. So if you have team members who report they are being told, or are feeling like they are harassing patients, advise them to not leave a message.

Calling patients for follow-up treatment or recall means calling every number available unless a patient has asked us to do otherwise.  Do not assume because a patient has not been seen for a year or two they are no longer interested in coming to your office. More often than not, patients think they’ve just seen you and are surprised to learn it’s been so long.

Marketing for new patients is another task that too often is considered a project. I have yet to meet anyone from any practice anywhere in the country where they tell me, “We have too many new patients. We don’t want anymore. We can’t see them all.“ That means marketing should be a priority in everyone’s day. Again, every member of the team must do something for marketing before they leave for the day.

There are two types of marketing, internal and external. Internal marketing is marketing to existing patients. This is easy. All those patients coming in to see you can be asked to send in their friends and family. “I smile every time I see your name on my schedule. I wish all of my patients were as wonderful as you. If you have any friends or family who are looking for a dentist, please send them our way. We find that wonderful people tend to have wonderful friends too.”

With social media a source of information and, more importantly, referrals, it can also be beneficial to ask for reviews from those best patients. If you are really interested in increasing your number of new patients, there is no better way than increasing your exposure on-line through the use of great testimonials. Make it easy for your patients to review you. Set your practice up to where patients receive automatic requests for reviews and comments or direct them to the reviewing sites you use: google, yelp, etc. Even though you may have an automated system you still should remind and ask patients to comment on your office.


Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube and Twitter. When considering what to say or do on social networking sites; for Facebook think pictures, for LinkedIn think articles, for Twitter think links and for YouTube think short testimonials and informational pieces. How often should these sites be accessed? Facebook twice a day, LinkedIn twice a week, Twitter more frequently and YouTube whenever you have an interesting video to share.

Remember to also work on your external marketing daily. Whether you are a general dentist or a specialist, it is in your best interest to connect with the offices you refer to and who can refer to you. Build relationships with the other teams. The doctor can do this by choosing one mutual patient a week to discuss with another office via telephone. The front office can do this by providing information on a patient recently seen, or a patient the office has not been able to get back into the office. Referral slips can be mailed. Calls can be made to determine if a general dentist is seeking a relationship with a specialist, specialists can be contacted to provide them with business cards. Visiting business, day cares, schools, medical offices and other places where information can be provided can assist you in getting your name out to those who are seeking your care. 

Staying focused and being consistent in creating priorities that reflect the outcome you desire will allow you to achieve the experience you most want. Go Big!


Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, October 28, 2013

Go Big or Go Home: Create your Experience




 If you are still not obtaining your desired goals, perhaps it is because a better understanding of priorities is needed.

I often hear doctors say they would like to be more productive. See more patients each day. Have more new patients visit each month. They inform me that if only they could figure out how to have that, they would be doing well.

Many of us have challenges prioritizing our days. We have so much to do and so little time to do it in. In the end, we accomplish less of what is most important. When discussing the tasks that must be finished in any dental practice it is best to group them into the following categories: People, Priorities and Projects.

People come first because people are most important. No matter what type of business we are talking about, this is true, but it is particularly true of the business of dentistry. People tasks should ALWAYS come first. People based tasks include greeting, checking patients in and out, answering the telephone and providing dental care. With people as our primary focus, we must strive to do all we can to ensure they know we respect and value them.

Priorities are tasks that must be completed before each team member and/or the doctor leaves for the day. Priorities include things such as charting, sterilization, day sheets, and confirmation.

Projects are items that need to be done, no doubt, but they are tasks that can be completed at any time and are not necessarily time critical to today. They are things like insurance follow-up, ordering and finding someone to replace a ceiling tile. Important, yes, but maybe not so important that it can’t wait until tomorrow.

In a group setting, I will often go to each team member and have them list the main things they do for the practice, placing each task in the appropriate category based on how they view it. Many times I find the following items in the project category: treatment follow-up, recall and marketing. Remember, projects are things to be completed only after people and priorities if there is additional time at the end of the day. If your true desire is more patients in your schedule, more new patients coming in, then shouldn’t the efforts of your entire team reflect this?

A doctor walked into her office and stated it was time to clean the carpets. Later that day she had a number of bids on her desk to clean the carpet. That is great, except her schedule also had five hours open for the next few days and no one had been working on it. It is a great example of what happens when the line between people, priorities and projects is blurred.

To see more of your existing patients or to have more new patients come into your practice, the tasks that directly lead to that outcome should be a priority and, aside from people activities, take precedence.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hiring with diversity



Your office needs a new front desk. You may be tempted to stick to a certain type of person. Bubbly, educated a certain way, bilingual. Or you may only higher from one type of dental school. However, I want you to stop and think about the benefits of making a different choice. The more diverse of an office you have the more types of patients you may find want to visit your office.

But the other benefit is you are able to find individuals who come from such diverse backgrounds that they will be able to benefit the office in a variety of ways outside of the traditional front office or back office responsibilities.

Humans tend to stick close to people that come from the same background or whom they have something in common with. But sometimes it is a bigger benefit to higher individuals that are opposite you.  Then when you need to have a diverse and unique look on how to improve on front office procedures you have a variety of individuals with a variety of opinions.  

Although, relationships don’t always happen naturally you as the leader have a responsibility to support the relationships and opportunities for everyone in the office no matter what background they come from.

Think about the next time you are hiring for a position, which individual is going to challenge the status quo in your office and bring about a stronger team with a variety of expertise and experience.

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, October 21, 2013

Diversity




Stop and think about what this word means to you. Depending on your own experiences it could lead to a mixture of emotions however, when building a team, diversity is the key.

However, you can’t just hire a group of diverse individuals plop them in a room together and hope that they make their own connections. Team building with individuals who you do not believe you have a lot in common can be tricky and it may take time. For example, you as the leader of the organization or as a staff member may need to commit to some extra steps to build positive relationships with everyone that works for your office.

Some of the activities you could do to help build your diverse teams are to have an office lunch, commit to a vision and work as a team towards that goal. Or attend conferences together and have monthly meetings to discuss information.


Events for the team do not have to always be formal activities. You can also provide informal opportunities for team members to work together. Have a new member train with all the team members in your office. Or have your front office help in the back office or with the hygienist for a day in order for them to have different learning opportunities. 

Although, you cannot force relationships you can facilitate learning around the office to appreciate the differences among your team members while building a team that trusts each other. 

Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Let's Talk About Power

 

Last post we discussed three different types of power, utility, legitimate and coercive. Now we are going to look at the characteristics of each type of power.

The first one is coercive power. This power holds something over a person’s head and people do things because they are afraid of you. For example, an employee comes into work early. On the outside this looks really good but while they are at work they are nervous, anxious and are fearful that you will punish them in some way.

Individuals under this type of power do not work well for long periods of time. They will burn out or quit because they are not happy in their position. Your mission maybe compromised and moving your dental practice forward maybe impossible. When you ask for ideas on how to streamline the front desk, instead of innovative and creative thinkers you get silence. This type of power can cripple your business and create an unhappy environment for patient care.

The second type of power is utility power. People who work in this type of power gain some financial or ego boost.  This power is not as bad as the first however, it also misses the mark of a shared vision with a strong team. Your workers may follow and they may step up a little because they can’t wait for that monthly bonus. But they do not go above and beyond if it is needed.

Corporate offices use this type of power to get the job the done. However, in your line of work this is not the type of business where you can just do the minimal.

It is critical in dentistry you don’t abuse the position given to you as boss. You need to build a relationship with shared power or control. When you have this type of relationship with your front office, they will ask patients for a review and their payment up front. Your RDA, will talk to patients as people and not just an extra paycheck.

Not only will your business grow but the relationship you have with your staff and patients will also increase because the word team will not be a word just thrown around, it will be the basis for the future of your business. 


 Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, October 14, 2013

What type of power do you have?


Power

What comes to mind when you hear that word? Do you envision you standing on the top of a mountain your team around you cheering you on? Or is it a shared comradery of success? While you tell the team member next to you great job.  Or do you pay each member twenty dollars for joining you on a Sunday hike?

When you are working with teams of people you are automatically given certain control in the situation. You control their paychecks, raises, how they do their job and how others view them. This is an important role but also one that shouldn’t be taken lightly.  You can change the future of someone for good or bad. You can help them achieve their dreams or you can crush what they have worked their whole life for. This power should be used correctly and carefully.

Each type of power has a different purpose and will affect your team differently. The three types of power according to Stephen Covey (1990) are coercive power, utility power or legitimate power.

Coercive power is controlling and forces people to do things under duress. When you are this type of leader people don’t necessarily respect you or do things to help you out because they want to but because they are afraid of what you hold over their head. This type of leader does not instill trust nor does it build respect among teammates. For your dental business it could jeopardize the relationship with your patients.

Utility power is power that makes promises. It is a guarantee of a paycheck, or some reward. In the dental office, your team may step up with patients to gain a bonus or because in the end they are earning a paycheck.  This power is not necessarily bad however, in the end legitimate power is the power you want to move your team forward, because utility power only works if you have something to offer.

Legitimate power is true trust that you have earned.  This offers team support for a shared purpose. Individuals in your organization will step up because it is an effort that will best support the goals. It is a shared mission and vision along with a deeply routed trust for you as their leader.

 Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Make your Morals Known


Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Monday, October 7, 2013

High Morals high Standards


 Your morals should be reflected in everything you do.  Your staff, patients and business associates should be able to identify the truths you hold closest to you. They should be evident when you wake up in the morning and as you go about your day.

However, you need to also have the highest  moral leadership standards. "Your character is always on display." (Leadership Every Day, Pg. 9) 

It is important that no matter what decisions you are making that you do not lose your high belief systems. If patient care is what you uphold then everything you do in your office should reflect high patient care.

If you are open and honest and caring then as you talk and work with your staff they should know this about you and be able to identify if. Our morals are the beliefs that we hold closest to us and they are what we want others to see.

Build relationships with other individuals who have the same belief systems you do. This will help you if you come up against a troubled situation. In times of question dig deep down and go back to your truths.


Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.

Wednesday, October 2, 2013

The Choices You Make


Every choice you make throughout the day has an impact on your business. No matter how small the choice seems or how little you think it will impact you, it does. According to, Leading Every Day, "one of the key characteristics of leaders is that they consciously make all kinds of choices." It is important in the decisions you make as a leader that you make a decision and then move forward but also that you think through the decisions you make.

Make decisions that are going to move your group towards the goal. Don't waste time doing the wrong thing. It is important however, that the mission of your dentist office is clear and concise. Make sure your teammates know what the mission is in order for them to understand the decisions you are making.  You also, need to come back to the mission often.

Leadership deviation occurs when the mission becomes unclear or when people forget about the mission. Leadership choices have to be made to support the purpose and goal of your organization. Choices should also be made that move your office forward. Sometimes we have to complete tasks that we don’t want to or that hold us back. However, a majority of your choices and decisions and activities should align with what you are trying to accomplish.

Questions, problems and activities jump out at you all day long. It is important to establish steps that you are going to take in order to follow through with an appropriate choice to reach your goal. Keep this in mind and if you don’t have time, don’t make the decision right away.


Great teams take effort. Take time to work on your practice regularly to build quality communication and strengthen your results. For more information and to read other articles, please visit us at www.saltdpm.com.